Design Theory

Mu’s Unbelievably Long and Disjointed Ramblings About RPG Design

IMPORTANT NOTE TO THE SEMI-LITERATE:  Please note the word "Design" above.

Links to subsections available on the sidebar or in the clunky navbox.  I R WP n00b.

These pages contain a whole bunch of stuff about my personal philosophies on game design, and the state of game design.  It leans heavily towards making a fantasy pre-industrial age MMORPG that is realistic, believable, balanced, and immersive.  Some of these ideas and suggestions are applicable to all types of game design in any genre, from pen and paper to the MMORPG model.  Some of them are specifically geared for computer-based systems.  Some of them require server and wide area networking technology that is about 3 generations away.  That’s okay though, it just means this document may still be valid by that time, if the computer game industry hasn’t been sucked into a quagmire of bureaucratic crap and cheap sequel stamping by then.  Oops, too late.

These pieces are not presented perfectly, and many times the topical relationship between an article and the page it appears on is marginal.  Some pieces look like they belong on two or more pages, so I just left them in the most appropriate section.  These articles will be continually updated as I feel like it.  The staggering volume of text and constant updating is very convenient for me, as whenever someone challenges a theory or factoid presented here, I can easily say, "Oh, that’s taken care of in some other section," then hastily write a piece that explains the discrepancy and update before the critic can navigate his way through the mass of material.

Some of these pieces were written by Randall G. Sherman (Shadwolf).  Important editorial contributions and suggestions were made by lots and lots of people, including (but not exclusively) Randall Sherman, Tony Faber, Derek Collazzo, George Harvey, Jesse Kurlancheek, Penelope Baker, Wendy Montgomery, Kristin Bates, Stephen Bulla, Jeff Sandler, J., Allerion, Wi, Iron Monkey, Mourne, Airety, and the power proofreading team of Tasha, Lucy, Abby and Taco-Girl.

Some early comments (pre-June 2001) can be found here.

There are a number of other excellent pieces about roleplaying game/world design and implementation available on the web.  I don’t like all of them, but they’re always interesting.  Here are a few:

Raph Koster’s Online World Design Laws
Cities, Population, Subsistance and Land Area
Creating a Viable Virtual Ecosystem
The Division of Territory in Society
Uncle Figgy’s Guides
The In-Game Economics of Ultima Online
Ragnar’s Home Page
Amit’s Game Programming Information
Behavioral Game Design (Gamasutra)

At the time of initial publication, this entire guide totaled over 340k in text alone.  Feel my pain.

Copyright 2001-Now by Howard Collins.


3 Responses to “Design Theory”
  1. Great publication. Will be very useful on a game i’m working on, keep up the good work!

  2. Why is my antispam word “Pokemuff” ? Is this site subtly trying to advertise something about pornographic pokemon?

  3. […] […]

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